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The main traits of sickle cell anemia

Summary What is sickle cell disease? Sickle cell disease SCD is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders.

  1. Periodic episodes of pain, called crises, are a major symptom of sickle cell anemia. There are other treatments for specific complications.
  2. Tiny blood vessels that supply your eyes may become plugged with sickle cells. These cases caused some organizations to mandate that athletes be tested for sickle cell trait as a prerequisite to participation and has led to some confusion about whether or not it is safe for individuals with sickle cell trait to play sports.
  3. Periodic episodes of pain, called crises, are a major symptom of sickle cell anemia. Take folic acid supplements, as recommended by your doctor.
  4. When this happens, oxygen can't reach nearby tissues.

If you have SCD, there is a problem with your hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body.

Sickle Cell Disease

With SCD, the hemoglobin forms into stiff rods within the red blood cells. This changes the shape of the red blood cells. The cells are supposed to be disc-shaped, but this changes them into a crescent, or sickle, shape. The sickle-shaped cells are not flexible and cannot change shape easily. Many of them burst apart as they move through your blood vessels. The sickle cells usually only last 10 to 20 days, instead of the normal 90 to 120 days.

Your body may have trouble making enough new cells to replace the ones that you lost. Because of this, you may not have enough red blood cells.

This is a condition called anemiaand it can make you feel tired. The sickle-shaped cells can also stick to vessel walls, causing a blockage that slows or stops the flow of blood.

When this happens, oxygen can't reach nearby tissues.

Everything You Should Know About Sickle Cell Trait

The lack of oxygen can cause attacks of sudden, severe pain, called pain crises. These attacks can occur without warning.

  1. It causes severe chest pain and is associated with symptoms such as cough, fever, sputum production, shortness of breath, and low blood oxygen levels.
  2. Request an Appointment at Mayo Clinic Causes Sickle cell anemia is caused by a mutation in the gene that tells your body to make the red, iron-rich compound that gives blood its red color hemoglobin.
  3. Swelling in the hands or feet.
  4. If a crisis is severe enough, you might need to be hospitalized.

If you get one, you might need to go to the hospital for treatment. What causes sickle cell disease?

American Society of Hematology

The cause of SCD is a defective gene, called a sickle cell gene. People with the disease are born with two sickle cell genes, one from each parent. If you are born with one sickle cell gene, it's called sickle cell trait. People with sickle cell trait are generally healthy, but they can pass the defective gene on to their children.

Who gets sickle cell disease? About 1 in 13 African American babies is born with sickle cell trait About 1 in every 365 black children is born with sickle cell disease SCD also affects some people who come from Hispanic, southern European, Middle Eastern, or Asian Indian backgrounds. What are the symptoms of sickle cell disease?

Sickle Cell Anemia

People with SCD start to have signs of the disease during the first year of life, usually around 5 months of age. Early symptoms the main traits of sickle cell anemia SCD may include Painful swelling of the hands and feet Fatigue or fussiness from anemia A yellowish color of the skin jaundice or the whites of the eyes icterus The effects of SCD vary from person to person and can change over time.

Most of the signs and symptoms of SCD are related to complications of the disease. They may include severe pain, anemia, organ damage, and infections. How is sickle cell disease diagnosed? A blood test can show if you have SCD or sickle cell trait. All states now test newborns as part of their screening programs, so treatment can begin early. People who are thinking about having children can have the test to find out how likely it is that their children will have SCD.

Doctors can also diagnose SCD before a baby is born. That test uses a sample of amniotic fluid the liquid in the sac surrounding the baby or tissue taken from the placenta the organ that brings oxygen and nutrients to the baby.

What are the treatments for sickle cell disease? The only cure for SCD is bone marrow or stem cell transplantation. Because these transplants are risky and can have serious side effects, they are usually only used in children with severe SCD.

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For the transplant to work, the bone marrow must be a close match. Usually, the best donor is a brother or sister. There are treatments that can help relieve symptoms, lessen complications, and prolong life: Antibiotics to try to prevent infections in younger children Pain relievers for acute or chronic pain Hydroxyurea, a medicine that has been shown to reduce or prevent several SCD complications.

It increases the amount of fetal hemoglobin in the blood. This medicine is not right for everyone; talk to your health care provider about whether you should take it. This medicine is not safe during pregnancy.

What is sickle cell trait?

Childhood immunizations to prevent infections Blood transfusions for severe anemia. If you have had some serious complications, such as a strokeyou may have transfusions to prevent more complications. There are other treatments for specific complications. To stay as healthy as possible, make sure that you get regular medical care, live a healthy lifestyle, and avoid situations that may set off a pain crisis.